A brand new Tuesday is here, but this isn’t just any other brand new Tuesday. This is 2017-18 NBA season tip-off Tuesday!
On top of that, I have a pretty fun Pistons pick’em contest for you. Who doesn’t like nerdy pick’em contests?
Simple - from each of the 20 stats match-ups below, pick the higher based on what you predict will happen (not necessarily on what you want to happen) for the 2017-18 NBA 82-game regular season. Make sure to write in all of your 20 picks (in order) below in this comment thread.
There will be some kind of prize at season’s end for the person that correctly predicts the most pick’ems. To be eligible, please get all 20 of your picks in before the Pistons first game, which tips off this Wednesday night at 7:00 (...Ok, I’ll also accept your picks if they’re in by 11:59PM on Wednesday, too).
Also, every few weeks I’ll be keeping you updated on how these 20 “match-ups” are going.
1. Reggie Jackson field goal attempts per game OR Andre Drummond points per game
Some history: In 2015-16 Reggie put up 15.7 field goal attempts per game, while last season he put up 13 per game. Andre went from 16.2 points per game in 2015-16 to 13.6 last season.
WHY PICK REGGIE: He's healthy and always in attack mode, hopefully being productive and scoring tons of buckets.
WHY PICK ANDRE: Ish and Reggie get the big penguin involved on action going to the hoop. And Andre may have finally found a free throw stroke that doesn’t shatter.
2. Avery Bradley minutes per game OR Stanley Johnson 3-point percentage
Avery has played 33.4 minutes per game each of the last two seasons. Stanley is a career 30-percent 3-point shooter.
WHY PICK AVERY: Avery will play enough minutes and Stanley just is what he is: a bad shooter.
WHY PICK STANLEY: You’re of the opinion Stanley will improve and isn’t THAT bad of a shooter.
3. Detroit Pistons wins against Western Conference OR Andre Drummond games of at least 20 points and 16 rebounds
Pistons were 16-14 against the Western Conference last season while Andre had 10 games of at least 20 points and 16 rebounds.
WHY PICK PISTONS WINS AGAINST WEST: You have a lot of optimism for this team (good for you – now please share some with me).
WHY PICK ANDRE: Way too many good teams in West. Andre can breathe better now. He’s slimmer. His minutes will likely increase and his production will too. Better free throw shooter to boot.
4. Ish Smith total assists OR Anthony Tolliver total points
Last season Ish had a career-high 418 assists in 81 games (in 24.1 minutes per game). Last season in Sacramento, Tolliver scored 461 points in 65 games in nearly 19 minutes per game.
WHY PICK ISH: Slightly better weapons around him this season, plus a decent chance at playing more than 24 minutes per game.
WHY PICK TOLLIVER: You’re leaning towards him being in the rotation and playing solidly for pretty much the entire season.
5. Avery Bradley games of at least 20 points OR Stanley Johnson's minutes per game
Avery scored 20+ points in 12 regular season games last season, though he played just 55 games. Stanley played 17.8 minutes per game last season while playing 23.1 as a rookie.
WHY PICK AVERY: Versatile scorer who needs to be an aggressive force for this team. He’ll be healthier than last season too.
WHY PICK STANLEY: Will be given opportunity for starter minutes and consequently will play better and longer with more time on floor with starters.
6. Reggie Bullock 3-point percentage OR Langston Galloway 3-point percentage
In two seasons with Detroit (only 68 games), Reggie has shot 40-percent from downtown. Langston is a career 36.6-percent 3-point shooter, while shooting 39-percent there last season.
WHY PICK REGGIE: Good enough shooter and also will likely be injured at some point this season, so he won't have many chances.
WHY PICK LANGSTON: Good enough shooter (and not shy about chucking), so just give him some love since he's new here.
7. Boban Marjanovic total games played OR Jon Leuer total 3-pointers made
Boban played 35 games last season. In 2015-16 Jon made 42 3-pointers (at 38-percent clip) and last season he made 49 (at 29-percent clip).
WHY PICK BOBAN: Stan Van Gundy says he's absolutely going to use Boban more this season. But, what if Eric Moreland turns out to be the perfect anti-Drummond center? Then it's last season all over again and Boban sits often.
WHY PICK JON: Eric Moreland actually turns out to be the perfect anti-Drummond center.
8. Henry Ellenson total games played OR Ish Smith total blocks
Henry played in 19 games last season while Ish blocked a career-high 33 shots (81 games).
WHY PICK HENRY: One year older and more confident, and could conceivably contribute on offense for this team if given the chance.
WHY PICK ISH: Henry won’t play in many games because he’s still pretty awful on defense and would have to beat out a couple of decent vets, anyway.
9. Tobias Harris total 3-pointers made OR Andre Drummond total blocks
In 82 games last season, Tobias made 109 3-pointers at a 34-percent clip. Dre blocked 89 shots last season in 81 games (29.7 minutes/gm).
WHY PICK TOBIAS: He should be the focal point of the offense and that means, for better or for worse, taking a decent share of shots from deep.
WHY PICK DRE: He can breathe better now. He’s slimmer. Minutes likely go up and defensive production should too.
10. Detroit Pistons total road wins OR Pistons leader in points per game
Pistons were 13-28 on the road last season and are generally regarded to be about a .500 team this season. Tobias and Avery both had scoring averages of just over 16 last season.
WHY PICK PISTONS TOTAL ROAD WINS: Again, you are extremely optimistic (bordering on insane) about this team.
WHY PICK PISTONS LEADER IN POINTS PER GAME: Tobias and/or Avery at the very least keep up their points production - or even add a couple to their averages.
11. Andre Drummond free throw percentage OR Luke Kennard total 3-pointers made
Andre shot 16 for 20 in this preseason from the charity stripe (IS THIS REAL LIFE), but is a career 38.1-percent free throw shooter. Luke has a certain reputation as a shooter coming from Duke.
WHY PICK ANDRE: Shoots around 60-percent from the line and Kennard is glued to the bench most of the season.
WHY PICK LUKE: He'll surely be in the rotation for the first five games with Bullock serving a suspension, so if he starts off with a bang he may never relinquish his spot and wins this match-up easily (I could see Luke’s rookie season going similarly to how Alex Abrines’ rookie season went: 68 games played, 15.5 mins/gm, 6 points/gm, 94 3-pointers made. Although, yes, Luke’s game is more versatile than Alex’s).
12. Eric Moreland total rebounds OR Tobias Harris total assists
Small sample, but Eric grabbed 20 rebounds in 48 total minutes in two preseason appearances for Detroit. Last season Tobias posted a career-high 142 assists (82 games played).
WHY PICK ERIC: He’ll get sporadic playing time behind Drummond but just enough minutes to make a contribution on the glass.
WHY PICK TOBIAS: As one of the key players, he’ll naturally get back to 130 or 140+ assists if he’s playing close to a full season. Also, you think there will be pretty sparse playing time for Eric Moreland.
13. Andre Drummond assists per game OR Stanley Johnson steals per game
Andre averaged a career-high 1.1 assists per game last season while Stanley is averaging .74 steals a game for his career.
WHY PICK ANDRE: Hoping for fewer post-ups where he already has his mind made up that he’ll unload that shot put hook of his.
WHY PICK STANLEY: Another year wiser, plus more minutes.
14. Reggie Jackson total turnovers OR Tobias Harris total free throw attempts
Reggie turned it over a total of 223 times two seasons ago and 114 times last season - though do remember, he only played 52 games last season. Tobias attempted 226 free throws last season.
WHY PICK REGGIE: Reggie playing a good number of minutes probably means he’s playing good ball – however, that’ll naturally mean his turnover total will be higher. Essentially, if Reggie is back to his 2015-16 self, we’ll definitely “take the bad with the good”.
WHY PICK TOBIAS: With more responsibility means a higher usage, which should mean more trips to the free throw line, or so you’d hope.
15. Stanley Johnson points per game OR total times Pistons suffer defeat by at least 15
Stanley has averaged 6.2 points per game in two NBA seasons and the Pistons last season suffered defeat by at least 15 points a very inspiring 19 times.
WHY PICK STANLEY: He’ll manage a double-figure scoring average.
WHY PICK PISTONS SUFFER DEFEAT BY AT LEAST 15: You have very little faith in this team or in Stanley Johnson. Or in both. Sad!
(you are on your own with these)
16. Memphis Grizzlies total wins OR Detroit Pistons total wins
17. Stephen Curry total three-pointers made OR Avery Bradley total field goals made
18. Chicago Bulls total wins OR Pistons wins in first 35 games
19. Joel Embiid total DNPs OR Reggie Jackson games of at least 8 assists
20. Boston Celtics total wins OR Andre Drummond field goal percentage
Happy brand new NBA season, all you bball watchers!